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Yamabushi

A divine warrior-monk who draws his power from the positive aspects of Yomi (the realm of the dead) and a good relation with the kami, yamabushi can sometimes be in samurai communities where they serve as spiritual advisors to the clan head. While many yamabushi are ascetic hermits, removed from the cares of the world, others, descending from their monastical mountain retreats, seek to battle the evils of the world. The supernatural powers of the yamabushi come from a combination of inner strength and spiritual enlightenment.

The yamabushi is an archetype of the paladin class.

Class Skills

The Yamabushi’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int).

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Yamabushi are proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with the naginata. They are proficient with light and medium armor and with shields.

Weapon Focus

Yamabushi gain weapon focus as a class bonus feat.

This feat replaces the paladin’s heavy armor proficiency.

Detect Undead (Su)

At will, the yamabushi can detect undead, as the spell. At first level yambushi can, as a move action, concentrate on a single individual within 60 feet and determine if it is undead, as well as the relative power of the undead. At 10th level, the use of this ability becomes a free action, though only one individual may be targeted a round. At 20th level the yamabushi is immediately aware of all undead within 60 feet and their relative strength.

This ability replaces the paladin’s detect evil ability.

Damage Undead (Su)

Beginning at 2nd level, the yamabushi’s attacks against undead are especially effective. The yamabushi may add his Charisma modifier to all attack and damage rolls made against undead. If the yamabushi uses his smite evil ability to target an undead, the first successful attack deals extra damage equal to 2 points of damage per yamabushi level instead of the normal extra point of damage per class level.

This ability replaces Lay on Hands.

Domain

At 4th level, when a yamabushi gains the ability to cast spells, he gains access to one of the following cleric domains (Air, Animal, Knowledge, Law, Strength). His effective cleric level for this domain is equal to his paladin level -3. When choosing spells, the first spell in each spell slot must be the appropriate domain spell, though the number of spells he may cast per day is unchanged.

Channel Positive Energy (Su)

When a yamabushi reaches 4th level, he gains the supernatural ability to channel positive energy like a cleric. A yamabushi may do this a number of times per day equal to his Charisma modifier, but otherwise uses his class level as his effective cleric level when channeling positive energy.

Expert Healer (Ex)

Beginning at 4th level, the yamabushi may add 1/2 his class level to all Heal checks.

This ability replaces Mercy.

Divine Bond (Su)

At 5th level, the yamabushi forms a divine bond with either Yomi or the Kami. Once the bond is chosen, it cannot be changed. If the yamabushi forms a bond with Yomi, he can enhance his weapon. This ability works in all respects as the standard paladin ability; only the source of the ability’s power is changed.

If the yamabushi forms a bond with the Kami, he gains the ability to call upon the service of an unusually intelligent, strong, or loyal animal to aid him in battle. This animal is considered an outsider with an Intelligence of at least 6, but otherwise functions as a druid’s animal companion, using the yamabushi’s paladin level as his effective druid level. If the yamabushi already possesses an animal companion, through the Animal domain, add 2 to the effective druid level when this option is chosen. The yamabushi cannot magically summon the animal companion to his side and if the animal companion dies, the yamabushi may not summon another animal for 60 days or until he gains a paladin level, whichever comes first. During this 60 day period, the yamabushi takes a -1 penalty on attack and weapon damage rolls. At 11th level the animal companion gains the celestial simple template.

Observer of Nature (Ex)

At 6th level, the yamabushi may make Knowledge (nature) checks untrained. If the yamabushi possesses skill ranks in Knowledge (nature) he may add 1/2 his class level to all Knowledge (nature) checks.

Champion of Nature (Su)

At 20th level, a yamabushi becomes a conduit for the powers of Yomi and the kami. His DR increases to 10/evil. Whenever he uses smite evil and successfully strikes an undead foe, the target takes an additional 200 points of damage (10 per class level). This immediately ends the smite evil attempt regardless whether the creature survived the attack. Furthermore, when the yamabushi channels positive energy, the healing or damage is maximized.

Section 15: Copyright Notice – The Way of the Samurai
The Way of the Samurai copyright 2012, Steven D. Russell and Michael Tumey, all rights reserved; Author Jonathan McAnulty

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